Scheduled to teach:
Todd Felderstein (www.ToddFelderstein.com) launched his professional photography career shortly after arriving to Los Angeles from Baltimore, MD. Carving his niche in portrait and commercial photography, he was soon shooting for Los Angeles advertising and PR firms and photographed the award winning LA Nonsmoking Campaign spearheaded by the City of Los Angeles. Todd thrived in the music industry creating images for assorted Grammy award-winning musicians along with celebrities and sports figures. The recent past has provided an enormous amount of joy in street and documentary photography.
As a director/producer/writer, recent productions include TZEVA ADOM which was a finalist at the Cannes Film Festival’s “Emerging Filmmaker Program” and a semifinalist at the highly competitive NBCU Shortfest. Todd’s film RESERVATIONS stars Dale Raoul from HBO’s TRUE BLOOD. He is one of the few writers behind Sony’s highly popular “Spider-Man” animated series that stars Neil Patrick Harris in the title role. Todd has a long history in independent cinema and nonfiction filmmaking. He is on the selection committee of the International Documentary Association and a member of the professional editors guild. Todd is also a member of the prestigious Actors Studio West Directors Unit established by film and theatre legends Lee Strasberg, Martin Landau,Sydney Pollack among many other artists who have left their mark on the world stage.
Todd Felderstein Portfolio
Julia Dean Interviews Todd Felderstein
LACP Founder and Executive Director Julia Dean asks Todd Felderstein?ten questions about his background, career in and beliefs about photography ?
Julia Dean: ?What kind of photographer are you?
Todd Felderstein: ?As I’ve changed through the years so too has my photography yet, what has remained consistent is my fascination with people. What continues to draw me into the scene are the defining quirks that make us individuals. Lighting, technology and mediums will continue to alter the way we create (except for the purists) yet the spark behind the eyes, those moments of unfettered honesty will always remain constant.
JD: ?How long have you been shooting?
TF: ?If this question refers to the first time I was paid to press the shutter it probably dates back to 1989, give or take. If “how long” refers to when the camera and I first discovered one another, I would have to say it was when I was six years old or so. My parents were given all sorts of camera equipment as a wedding present (Brownie, super 8 film camera, projector) yet this batch of imagineering lived in boxes, waiting for me to enter this world. Thank goodness they had the intuition to hold onto this equipment since a future photographer was on the way. ?
JD: ?Where did you get your training?
TF: ?My eye came with the rest of the package. Originally from Rochester, NY, (home of Eastman Kodak) I think I was born with fixer in my blood and a Nikon instead of fingers. Formally, I studied photography in high school but the truth is, that from a young age, a camera was most often within reach. After moving to California in my early twenties I sporadically took photography classes at UCLA and Santa Monica College to unearth theory. Without realizing the significance, I put in my 10,000 hours long ago.??
JD: ?When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?
TF: ?Ah, devotion. Photography remains my most trusted companion. I can’t imagine not being able to make pictures. It has never been a choice.
JD:??Did you ever come close to giving up?
TF: ?There have been lulls where life has provided its distractions but each and every time I pick up the camera it reminds me what it means to see. ??
JD:??Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?
TF: ?My life defines the freelancer. It was never my intention but here I am. As those with security and all that comes with it yearn for more freedom, I think those who have had the good fortune to seek out have the occasional pull to stay put. I don’t see it as a sacrifice, I see it as what it is. ?
JD:??What have you gained by being a photographer?
TF: ?Besides a very keen eye, photography also trains you to listen and understand. Whether these skills, along with my unending patience, are products of being a photographer or my photography is a result of the above is up for debate. A career in photography also provides you with remarkable access to people and places from all walks of life. Having a camera is an international passport; being a photographer is embracing a responsibility ? it is like being an ambassador to whatever is in front of your lens. ?
JD:??What classes do you teach at LACP?
TF: ?With a fifteen plus year history as a nonprofit mentor and a former executive director of a media-based storytelling nonprofit, I have been encouraging young people for years. It is a pleasure to work with teen photographers at LACP, particularly in the areas of: street and portraiture. ??
JD:??What do you love most about teaching?
TF: ?I believe that curiosity plus ambition equals talent. Kids come to the table with so much and when they make discoveries, the evidence is palpable. The key, I believe, is to remove their obstacles that prevent learning. That’s my job; plus I offer a bunch of practical knowledge and encouragement along the way.
JD:??What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?
TF: ?With so many pictures being taken today and then digitally manipulated, I recommend everyone to learn the difference between a snapshot and a conscious image. Step two is to create a style that defines you. It’s difficult to be all things to all people. Consider yourself an individual and make sure your images reflect that specialness that defines who you are as a future professional.